Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Shredding: On Differerentiation, or Why This Is Not The Fourth

Being different can be an extremely difficult pursuit, it seems. As children we are edified on the laudable nature of the trait with much media being devoted to differences being acceptable. Yet somehow there is a tendency shortly later on to rebel and be different in precisely the same fashion as some thousands of one's peers. Naturally this leads disillusioned parents to wonder where they went wrong. Did they fail to correctly follow the prescribed pattern for teaching their child to be different? Maybe they should have played that Barney tape one more time.

I'm here today to ease the troubled minds of parents, young people, companies, platypusses, and any other individual interested in the fine art of varying from the norm. For those skilled enough, I hope to point out potential pitfalls. For those of you who are just never going to be special, I'll lay out reasons why working at being different might not be all it's cracked up to be anyway. To aid me in my discourse, I will be enlisting the aid of a very special shredder and one of it's warning signs.

Appearance of being different is often all that is actually being pursued. For example, this warning sign seems rather unusual on a shredder, but if there is actually nothing special about the shredder, and the sign is merely warning you not to empty canned lasers or pocket flamethrowers onto it, much of the appeal is lost. That warning could be put on any shredder you can buy. It's merely omitted due to rarity with which the warned against action is attempted.

Don't be a poseur. People will notice if they're smart, and who wants to impress only the truly dumb? (Don't answer that, it's rhetorical!) A faux eccentric is not likely to achieve greatness, win friends, or even influence people unless they're extremely fashionable. But that makes for even more work than ever. If you don't genuinely enjoy being different on it's own merits, rethink your life. Have a nice sit on the couch and join the group I talked about earlier that will never quite be unique.

Sometimes there is a reason that nobody has done something before: it is incredibly foolish. This should be kept in mind when entering any area that is untrod in a metaphorical sense. Perhaps even in a literal sense. If this article's warning sign indicated that one should not spray the shredder with liquid because it will melt, that would be an example of an incredibly foolish, yet unique, shredder design. If you are determined to be different, at least don't be a melting shredder.

My final point should please my entire audience, if they've read and followed my advice so far. You see, being different really isn't something that should be worked at, despite the huge amount of effort society devotes to trying to be different, or at least hold the appearance of it. People are most unique when left to their own devices to find the path that makes sense to them. That's why I like to assume that warning label means one should not put their favorite spray bottle in the shredder, because it happens to be designed to shred spray bottles, just in case somebody needed to.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Shredding (Number the fifth... no, third!)

Now is the point in our shredder warning sign journey where things turn a bit strange. It appears to me that the manufacturer was no longer contented with warning users what not to shred, as the remaining warning signs do not depict the shredder at all. Some might argue that the shredder is implied, and that these are not more generalized bans. Some might say that those using the preceding argument are muffinheads or something equally unkind. To avoid flinging of insults, I will be providing interpretations for both camps.

Camp of the Anti-Hippy (Other camp avert your eyes, lest the hippies get you)

Perhaps hippy is not the correct descriptor for the hair in the warning. It could be rather extreme emo hair. Or the most fantastically oversized combover in the history of the world. Perhaps it's just a woman with regular somewhat long hair after a windy day. But in that case the creator of the sign would just be an embittered hermit who's sole satisfaction in life is producing racialist propaganda against women who resemble the one who crushed his heart. The one with the hair that had a penchant for clinging to her face like a headcrab. But if it was just a warning against women with hair long enough to attach to faces that would crush the beautiful strangeness I like to find in warning signs and by extension make this world a darker place. And you wouldn't want to do that, would you?

Camp of the Implied Shredder (Other camp avert your eyes):

This is the camp that believes this sign intends to instruct people not to shred their long luscious hair. If that doesn't describe you... didn't I already tell you to avert your eyes? Why are you looking at this? Glad we have that done. Most people probably don't think of performing the action this sign warns against. After all, hair is already long thin strands. Presumably the bulk of a shredders work is done. The only thing really left is to jam up and make a horrible mess. But warnings aren't for the bulk of the population, now are they? They're for that small percentage of the population that sticks a fork in the toaster while drying their hair in the bathtub and crossing the street without looking. I really can't think of anything wrong with warning that segment of the population against shredding their hair.

Camp of the Terminally Nosy (Both camps avert your eyes):

I told you not to look, but you big fat went and did it anyway! You should be ashamed. Give me a £, you'll feel lighter.

If you're still averting your eyes, cease and desist all eye aversion in 3... 2... 1...